FLAT TIRE!

The other day, I drove 10 kms to work with a flat tire. This was the worst “running flat” stunt I tried to pull off so far. It was the front wheel so steering was a challenge. The tire was completely out of air that it doesn’t (and can’t) “grip” the rim anymore.

flat_cover

When I got to an air pump on a gasoline station, I could no longer inflate the tire.The air I’m pumping into the tire through the valve is just escaping in the gap between the rim and the tire’s sidewall. It’s like turning the AC on to cool the room with the windows and doors open. Pointless, right?

I’m no stranger to flats. I’m sure everyone who drives has at some point been a victim. Motorcycles are more prone since our tires are not as thick as the ones for cages.

When I had the stock rim & spokes with tube type tires, I often had to go to a vulcanizing shop for a repair. Punctures to the inner tube, no matter how small can result to a slow leak and requires the tube to be patched up. Uggh!! The inconvenience.

Repairing a flat tire can take around 20-30 minutes

Repairing a flat tire can take around 20-30 minutes

That’s when I started carrying an aerosol can with compressed air and some goo. It saved me on numerous occasions;  two of which is on a remote area during a long ride. The compressed air obviously inflates your tire while the goo seals up the puncture. Another plus point is that the goo automatically seals up the next few leaks the tube/tire gets. Of course, the amount of damage this can repair is limited.

 On one instance, I tried it not realizing that the tube has already ruptured near the valve and everything just oozed out like a fluffy, sticky, cotton candy.

On one instance, I tried it not realizing that the tube has already ruptured near the valve and everything just oozed out like a cotton candy.

Then, I got cast alloy rims. I was able to do away with the tube. This was better. I might be getting as many punctures as before but this time, instead of a 1.5 mm thick stretchable inner tube, they have go through a hard rubber compound 4-6 times thicker.

The tubeless tire can handle being pierced by small objects like the first 2 pics but as it wears out it gets more vulnerable.

The tubeless tire can handle being pierced by small objects like the first 2 pics but not from something as wide as a fingernail.

Cycle Seal Tire Sealant made it even better. It’s a viscous substance injected into the tire (through the valve of course) and seals a puncture automatically.

Running in low tire pressure  lets Cycle Seal seep out. Such a waste!

Beware: Running in low tire pressure lets Cycle Seal seep out. Such a waste!

Got a flat? Here are my recommendations (Disclaimer: This is what has worked for me. Try at your own risk.):

TUBE TYPE
If you have an inner tube on, find and remove whatever punctured your tire; it prevents further damage to the inner tube. Next, remove the nut securing the valve stem in place and push it into the tire. A deflated inner tube can move freely inside the tire and if a portion of it is fixed onto something (e.g. the part near the valve), it might get torn making repair nearly impossible. Take it to a vulcanizing shop for repair.

Hop on it and drive! Slowly and carefully. I’d rather buy a replacement for the interior for P120 than push the bike for 2 kilometers especially at night and/or remote areas.

There are plenty of vulcanizing shops along major highways but few are open 24 hours.

There are plenty of vulcanizing shops along major highways but few are open 24 hours.

TUBELESS TIRES
The beauty of tubeless tires is that even if it get’s punctured, it doesn’t allow air to leak easily like what happens with a tube. Sometimes. it doesn’t leak air at all so pulling out something lodged into it might not always be the best idea. I have actually once deliberately plugged a hole on my tire with a thumbtack to stop the leak (and it worked!).

Cycle seal can't stop all leaks. Sometimes the hole is too big that it continuously bleeds. At least the slime will run out first before the air.

Cycle seal can’t stop all leaks. Sometimes the hole is too big that it continuously bleeds. At least the slime will run out first before the air.

In the event the tire pressure is low, you won’t have to worry about getting stranded because you can run on flat to the nearest air pump. If it takes you long enough to find one and the tire completely runs out of air, it would require more work but can still be done. At the vulcanizing shop, they can pump air directly to the tire by removing the check valve. This works because the “uncontrolled” rush of air fills up the tire faster than it can escape.

If this can’t be done and you only have the regulated air pump at a service station, you need to secure the tire firmly to the rim while pumping air. You can tie the tire to the rim or have your buddies hold it in place. Whatever works actually; the idea is to have greater air pumped into it than the air leaking out. If you achieve this, you’ll hear the tire “pop” into place.

Since we are talking about flat tires, what do you make of this?

flat_stabbed

STABBED!!

This has been there for 4 months now but surprisingly doesn’t leak air. Do you think it only grazed the side of the tire or will air gush out as soon as I pull it out? What do you think?

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About Dom de la Torre

The rider is a 20-something Filipino that rides a Honda Wave 125cc underbone. He knows little about motorcycles yet loves the experience going places on two wheels. Rider Ako is a motorcycle-slash-travel blog. The rider not only shares to you travel destinations and what to see there but also the experience of getting there. You will read about the thrills and adventure when he rides solo, the romance of riding in tandem, the camaraderie riding with a group, the excitement participating in events, and anything that he thinks you might find interesting.When he's broke and the fuel's empty, he will share stories about motorcycling how he sees it through his helmet visor.
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